Patio de Los Leones – The Alhambra Lion Court with the Celebrated Fountain of the Lions:
The Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions), with its celebrated lion fountain, is one the most famous images representing Granada and Spain. This Lion Court graces the cover of many tourist brochures on Granada and it features on thousands of postcards and even on Spain’s 2011 limited edition 2€ commemorative coins.
Patio de Los Leones
The Court of the Lions is part of the Palace of the Lions built by Muhammad V between 1362 and 1391. The Nasrid Sultanate was at its prime during this period and Court of the Lions was an example of the rich Moorish artistic styles that developed during this period. The Lion Court is lined with arcades which are supported by 124 slender marble columns.
When visiting the Lion Court, don’t forget to stop and admire the exquisite filigree-like carvings on the wall and arches.
The Fountain of the Lion is not just another Alhambra ornament for the purpose of contemplation. The fountain is yet another piece of evidence of the Moor’s deep fascination with water. The water from the lion fountain cools the elegant pavilions around the courtyard and the water system is said to be quite complex. Water flows in and out of the basin without spilling over, but instead spurts out of the lions’ mouths. This fountain is held up by twelve figurative marble lions which is an unusual feature for a Muslim palace.
We saw the Fountain of the Lions on an earlier visit, but unfortunately many recent visitors to the Alhambra would not have seen this famous fountain. The lions were removed in 2007 for restoration and although the project was to have taken two years, the lions and the fountain had not been re-installed in September 2011. Our guide said that the installation should take place by the end of 2011, and the good news is that the lions are back in the courtyard.
The Court of the Lions itself has been through extensive restoration and when the Lion fountain is finally reinstated, it will look magnificent again.